Aaron Boone staying connected with Yankees players, staff as they await new opener date

Tribune Content Agency

TAMPA, Fla. — That odd sensation of feeling out of place? It’s already struck Aaron Boone.

So, Boone doesn’t expect to feel another strange wave on Thursday afternoon, when he was supposed to be managing the Yankees on opening day.

Driving home to Connecticut in mid-March, being away from the ballpark, “it’s all been weird and an adjustment,” Boone said on Wednesday, what would have been the eve of opening day at Baltimore.

“You get so close to the start of a season and it’s not here,” Boone said. “That’s disappointing, that’s frustrating.

“But you also temper it with (the knowledge that) this is all bigger than me and us and baseball,” Boone said of a COVID-19 crisis that has impacted daily life around the world.

“Right now is the time to kind of do our part.”


Boone was about to call on a new neighbor, maintaining a 60-foot distance to play catch with Gerrit Cole.

Under normal circumstances, Cole would have been making his Yankees debut on Thursday, starting a highly anticipated 2020 season against the Orioles at Camden Yards.

“Guys are, to varying degrees, able to continue to work out and throw and trying as best they can to stay sharp and a little bit ready,” said Boone, keeping in touch with his players via text messaging.

There’s a separate coaches thread, texting “everything from detailed planning, or something very specific about a player…to what are you watching on Netflix?”


Sluggers Giancarlo Stanton (right calf strain) and Aaron Judge (stress fracture, first right rib) are among the 8-10 Yankees still working out at Steinbrenner Field.

Stanton would have been ready to participate in exhibition games this week. “He’s pretty much over the hump,” Boone said.

Judge is awaiting another CT scan, perhaps late next week, to determine whether he’ll be allowed to resume baseball activity.

Back home at Arizona, center fielder Aaron Hicks (Tommy John surgery) has begun a throwing program.

Hicks is working with a physical therapist and could be ready to play by July.

Lefty starter James Paxton (back surgery) has returned home to Wisconsin to continue his throwing program. Paxton hoped to be a rotation option by around June 1.


By Thursday, the 14-day quarantine at Yankees minor league camp will have ended.

“At that point, those guys will be free to go home,” said Boone.

The one exception is the second of two unidentified Yankees minor leaguers who tested positive for coronavirus. That player will remain in quarantine for a few more days.

According to the Yankees, both players who tested positive had recovered quickly from their symptoms.

Additionally, there are no players, staff or personnel who are currently being tested.


Whenever baseball resumes in its truncated state, Boone is a proponent of taking creative measures with the regular season schedule and postseason tournament.

If there are potentially games played in November, “a neutral site situation” comes into play. “So, I think there are probably some interesting, creative ways” to crown a champion.

Boone also mentioned the possibility of adding doubleheaders “the minor league way,” with two seven-inning games.

Overall, it’s a chance to try some ideas “that could stick a little bit or be kind of segue to something different down the line,” Boone said.

“It’s certainly an opportunity to try some things that you wouldn’t otherwise try in a normal 162-game setting.”


©2020 The Record (Hackensack, N.J.)

Visit The Record (Hackensack, N.J.) at www.NorthJersey.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.